TPES PTA MEETING MINUTES: SEPTEMBER 2019
Takoma Park Elementary School (TPES)
September 10, 2019. 6:45pm-8:00pm
7:00 Welcome and Introducing Small Things Matter – Meghan McDonald, President
- Introducing Small Things Matter – Lana Anderson
They are providing child care very other month at PTA meetings. They are middle and high school students who work with elementary kids. They have 2 programs – literacy and crafting.
Tonight they will read a story, play games and then paint rocks they can take home.
- Introductions of the Executive Committee members
- Upcoming Dates and Announcements:
Mon, Sept 30: No School
Tues, Oct 1: PTA Meeting + Coat Drive and Halloween Costume Swap, 7-8pm
Wed, Oct 2: Walk To School Day
Fri, Oct 4: Early Release for all students; TPES dismissal @ 1:20pm
Wed, Oct 9: No School
Tues, Nov 5: PTA Meeting – Power Tools for Power Struggles by PEP
Thurs, Nov 7: Literacy Night
7:10 Present and vote on the 2019-20 budget – Kelley Skelton, Treasurer
- Ended last year with $27,000, which helped the PTA commit to supporting Orton Gillingham teacher training over the summer and fundraise afterwards. Fundraising was successful in reaching the $10,000 goal to cover the training.
- Executive Committee decided to keep about 3 months of operating expenses in the bank as a reserve, which will allow us to make these kind of commitments in the future.
- Budgeting for this year was done conservatively (higher end estimates for expenditures and lower end for fundraisers). Expenses and fundraisers for the year were summarized.
- Please go on the PTA website and become a member, which will let you vote at PTA meetings and will support the PTA budget. If you need help affording a membership, booster memberships are available. It is on the PTA website on the membership page as the last option.
- New this year is $4000 for PTA grants for administrators or teachers with great ideas throughout the year.
- Thanks to Tracee Matthias for writing successful grants to receive $5000 from the National Education Association Grant and Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant for $2000 (awarded a few days ago) to support a Saturday literacy program.
- We approved a summer of budget of $1700 and only spent $1100 though some expenses may be still trickling in.
7:20 Before and After School Enrichment – Shana Sabbath on behalf of Virginia Davis, After School Enrichment committee chair
- TPES and PBES traditionally organize after school enrichment activities to balance interest of parents and based on what is expected to get sufficient enrollment. Enrollment is open now, closes Monday, September 16.
- Scholarship requests needed by this Friday, September 13. You can reply to emails or reach out to Shana or Virginia if you are interested in a scholarship.
- Virginia Davis and her counterpart from PBES have collaborated very closely to align their programming to better support families with children at both schools.
- PTA subsidizes the program, so is more affordable than similar programs elsewhere in the community.
7:30 Keeping up with PTA news and opportunities – Lauren Greenberg, VP Communications
- Lauren is the contact for the PTA website. Website is maintained by Gabe Seiden, a former TPES parent (now at PBES), who runs a website design and communications firm in Takoma Park (https://connect4consulitng.com) and has volunteered his services for the PTA.
- Ways the PTA will be trying to communicate with families this year:
- PTA website (which will be updated regularly), the yahoogroup listserv (sign up link on the PTA website) which is a parent-to-parent forum, as well as direct emails through a mail chimp account. In addition, space in the Dolphin newsletter that TPES sends out regularly.
- Teacher wish lists are now on the PTA website
- Please let Lauren know if there is information you’d like on the PTA website, or if you are interested in helping with communications (e.g., writing posts, putting up flyers)
7:40 Lunchroom expectations – Dr. Gadsden
- When there are 200 children in the room, there have to be rules to avoid unsafe situations.
- There is an enormous amount of food on the floor during lunch, so we try to keep kids from getting up to keep it safe. Kids need to raise hand and get a pass to go to the restroom. If all passes are gone, they have to wait for kids to return before they can go.
- Kids may have a perception that they are being made to be quiet for the entire lunch period, but it isn’t the entire lunch period. Would be last few minutes of lunch when they are trying to get out the door for recess. They are asked not to yell during lunch.
- At beginning of the year, they set the tone so that the rest of the year goes well. They want kids to be safe and happy.
- Kids usually have “free sit Friday” so they can sit anywhere they want if rest of the week has gone well.
- If kids are overstimulated by the lunchroom environment, it is an option to sit in the atrium.
- Children are encouraged to eat healthy foods first. If that’s a problem for you and your child, let them know and they won’t direct that at your child.
- There are 3-4 people in the room with the children.
- For challenges at lunch, there isn’t one answer that will work for everyone. They will decide what’s best for the school, but are then happy to adjust for specific families with different needs.
- Q: How did the first week go? A: The first week went extremely well.
- Q: I understand volunteers are wanted for lunch? A: We would love volunteers. Only request is that you help and not just sit next to your kid and eat with them. You can help open thermoses and ketchup packets. If you just come one time, you don’t need volunteer training, but if you want to come more than once, please do the training. You can come during any lunch and don’t need to prearrange it. We will be glad to have you.
- Kindergarten parents, please wait until October to volunteer so that the kids get into their routine first.
- We don’t ever keep anybody back from recess. But do send classes that have cleaned up and are sitting quietly first, to encourage good behavior.
- 55:1 is staffing ratio for lunch and recess. We are happy to have volunteers and that reduces ratios. No sign up needed for recess volunteering either.
7:50 Get Involved! Open volunteer opportunities, big and small:
- Health & Wellness committee: participates in organizing the 5K race and decides how to spend proceeds (which has supported flexible seating in classrooms like yoga balls and wiggle seats, farm stand at TPES). Things happen based on what committee members are excited about. Meetings will be at the Girl and the Vine. Committee also purchasing a sensory pathway for the school. New ideas for the committee are very welcome.
- Lunch & Recess volunteers: can just show up to volunteer
- Cultural Arts Assembly coordinators: puts on monthly assemblies for the school. If you enjoy putting together events or being engaged with activities for your child, this could be a good committee for you.
- Social Services committee: work with Mr Althofer to make sure kids have warm coats and backpacks. Purchased gift cards to support families in need. Is a behind-the-scenes committee that does really important work in our community.
- Teacher Appreciation committee: thanks staff and teachers for all they do. Provide dinner on parent-teacher conference nights, a week of teacher appreciation activities in May as well as a token at the holidays. If you’re interested in coming up with new ideas to show our appreciation to our hard-working staff, please join.
- Equity committee: started out to support an after-school homework club for kids who needed an extra boost for their academic work. Big focus last year was to make this effort sustainable and brought Lunch-n-Learn to have a home base at TPES and PBES. This year a big focus is to align efforts with PBES and create a joint committee that provides seamless support to the community. First part of the year will be brainstorming next efforts for the year.
- Readathon committee: this is the largest PTA’s fundraiser and it’s amazing how much excitement for reading is created with the kids through the Readathon. Are many different ways to volunteer, especially in February and March.
- Room parent coordinator: would coordinate room parent efforts schoolwide. Please see Meg McDonald if interested
- After-school enrichment committee: supports the after-school programming.
Committee chairs are listed here.
And please join the PTA.